My friend Poly...
Modern day flight never ceases to amaze me. I can be sharing an Eggo waffle with my daughter at eight in the morning in upstate New York, bear with an airborne lunch of rubbery beef and rice on a plane, and within a relative few hours, be feasting a dinner of roasted chicken, fried potatoes washed down with a cold draft beer for dinner in South America. Those who prefer to sit on the couch, channel surf and bitch that life has passed them by need only go online and purchase a plane ticket to anywhere. Don't have the dough? Charge it. The days can be long, but the life is way too short.
I'm in Lima, Peru right now, a stop-over before heading south and way up into the mountain country, for which I am already taking my altitude sickness pills. Lima is a sprawling, bustling community filled with people who still resemble the illustrations of the Mayans I so vividly recall from my 1974 social studies text book at St. Ambrose Roman Catholic grammar school in Latham, New York. Back in the day when I never dreamed I would travel or write or both. You see, back then, my life had already been mapped out for me by my folks who, at the onset of my birth chiseled a future they wanted for me into my brain so that I became ... how can I put this delicately?... indoctrinated into their way of thinking (notice I didn't use the term "brainwashing").
Many years later I was able to wake up, unwash my gray matter, and take on a life of my own, a small part of which now includes my first travels in South America. What better place to start than in Peru and the Amazon jungle. Over the next few days I will be writing about my experiences in this ancient, spiritual, and in some cases, still wild place. I won't always be enjoying the luxury of internet, but I will be writing my dispatches all the same.
Last night, walking the streets of Lima, I decided to step into a bar for a quick beer. I happened to catch a Nirvana tribute band in action. In between songs they spoke Spanish and judging by their smiles, were enjoying themselves entirely. I could only imagine if Kurt Cobain were sitting on the wood stool beside me in his ratted cardigan sweater, the breeze from the overhead Casablanca fans blowing down on us. He'd probably say something like, "Far out," and then casually order another beer.
As always when I travel to new city, I'll take in a run in a little bit and get the lay of the land in double-time. I'll probably get lost. That's what life's all about. Getting lost so that when you are found, you have changed. Maybe you've become wiser, happier, more curious than ever.